Duke's Soccer Team Looks Like Gathering Of UN

Ned Mills
Date Published: 
Statesville Daily Record

Johnny Lau at DukeJohnny Lau at Duke: Foreign-born members of Duke's soccer team are, kneeling, left to right, Arne Rostad of Vardal, Norway; Harry Thommen of Basel, Switzerland, and Johnny Lau, a Chinese of Port of Spain, Trinidad. Standing, left to right, are Chico Craniotis of Puerta Cortas, Honduras; Rodrigo Rigioni of Grecia, Costa Rica, and Fahir Gulum of Istanbul, Turkey.

DURHAM (NEA). — If the newspapers of the Tobacco Triangle broke out with this headline, "United Nations Adjourn For Year," Duke students would probably take it to mean that the university's soccer team had completed its season.

A Duke practice session resembles a meeting of the United Nations. The Blue Devils, who are having a successful season, come from all over the Western hemisphere, Europe and Asia as well. There is no Russian, but as soccer is not a game to be walked out on, coach Gerry Gerard figures a Soviet would only lead to dissension.

The outfit is unique, especially at a school located "down south," where Duke coaches and undergraduates have always been proud of the number of North Carolina boys on the various squads.

Making up a great part of the team's strength are two Latin-Americans, a Norwegian, a Swiss, a Turk, a Trinidad-born Chinese and a Japanese-American.

The boys play strictly unnoticed in football-mad North Carolina, but have fun, and when they take time out in any of their games, it wouldn't be surprising to overhear them discussing
how the great game of English football, or soccer, is not played in the United States as compared to the caliber of the most universal of all sports in their own countries.


John Lau's top game is cricket, which he played along with soccer at Queen's Royal College, a Port of Spain, Trinidad, high school. The Chinese athlete has played soccer since he was nine, believes it is rougher in Trinidad than in America. There the game is divided into halves instead of quarters, and substitutions are not allowed.